Lagunita The Lost Ancient Maya City

Lagunita or Laguinita is an ancient Maya city, located in the Yucatán Peninsula, Mexico. Recently, it was found in the southeastern part of the Mexican state of Campeche, in the heart of the Yucatan peninsula, the cities were hidden in thick vegetation and hardly accessible. After a two-month expedition, archaeologist Ivan Sprajc of the Slovenian Academy emerged from the jungle with more than drawings. He had pictures. Along with another previously unknown city he named Tamchen, Sprajc had rediscovered Lagunita.

Though his expedition trudged into the forests with machetes, trucks and tortillas, a bird’s eye view is what discovered Lagunita. “We found the site with the aid of aerial photographs,” he explained in a statement, “but were able to identify it with Lagunita only after we saw the facade and the monuments and compared them with Von Euw’s drawings.”

The monster mouth doorway at Lagunita. (Courtesy of Ivan Sprajc)

In the 1970s, an American explorer named Eric Von Euw ventured into unexplored forest at the base of the Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula near the border of Guatemala.He had drawn images of an “extraordinary facade with an entrance representing open jaws of the earth monster,” as would later be written of it.

However, the exact location of the city, referred to as Lagunita by Von Euw, remained lost. All the attempts at relocating it failed. Now, four decades later, another explorer has ventured into the Yucatan jungle to find Lagunita. Laguinita was identified only after the archaeologists compared the newly found facade and monuments with Von Euw's drawings. The monster-mouth facade turned to be one of the best preserved examples of this type of doorways, which are common in the Late-Terminal Classic Rio Bec architectural style, in the nearby region to the south.

Sprajc also found remains of a number of massive palace-like buildings arranged around four major plazas. A ball court and a temple pyramid almost 65 ft high also stood in the city, while 10 stelae (tall sculpted stone shafts) and three altars (low circular stones) featured well-preserved reliefs and hieroglyphic inscriptions.


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